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Sacrifice for Friendship
“Hey, Hanna,” I whispered, softly squeezing her hand. “How are you feeling?”
Hanna coughed, but smiled. “Hi, Allie. I’m feeling okay. Oh, but my head hurts a lot.”
I managed a smile, too, but in my mind I was thinking, Why is she lying to me? Her whole body hurts. I looked away and fought the tears that were threatening to leak. “Oh, Hanna… I want to do something so badly… I feel so useless.” Despite my best efforts, a tear rolled down my cheek.
Hanna frowned and replied, “Allie, don’t cry. Everything’s going to be okay. The doctors are the best doctors in town, and I know they will get rid of my cancer.” She reached behind her ear to play with her hair, but stopped short. Suddenly, she started to cry, too.
“Oh, Allie! I’m so scared. I feel like everything is falling apart. And look!” She angrily grabbed a piece of her beautiful golden curls and tugged. It easily came off. “Even my hair is falling apart because of the chemotherapy! I’m going bald,” she sobbed. It was unfortunately true – her pretty blonde locks were almost gone. Hanna wiped away her tears and quietly said, “Allie, never get cancer. It’d be horrible if you lost your hair like me.”
I fiddled with my fiery red waves and thought about what Hanna said in regards to our hair. She was devastated about losing her hair, and I didn’t blame her. Hanna’s long golden curls were probably the most beautiful in the world. My hair was pretty, too. It wasn’t as long, but it was a striking flaming red. It was naturally layered and straight. I was proud of it, but right now I couldn’t help but feel a little mad at it. Here Hanna was, lying in an itchy hospital bed with cancer cells in her body and mourning about her hair while I was standing and healthy with a head full of beautiful red hair – absolutely worthless. Suddenly, a thought popped into my mind and I knew what I had to do. “Hanna, I have to go. But I’ll come back tomorrow with a surprise, okay?”
Hanna nodded and answered, “Okay. Bye, Allie. See you tomorrow.”
I waved back and raced to the lobby where my mom was talking to a nurse. “Mom! C’mon, we have to go to!” I pulled her to the door as she called, “Well, I’ll see you later!” to the nurse.
“Allie, what is going on?” she asked as we piled into the car.
“We have to go to the hair salon,” I replied, my voice shaking.
Confused, she pretended to clean her ears. “What? Did I hear you correctly? YOU want to go to the HAIR SALON? Allie, that’s where people get their hair cut! I thought you were terrified of scissors coming even an inch near your head! My goodness, the last time you got a haircut was in second grade and that was such a catastrophe-“
“Mom, I know,” I answered, cutting her off before she drove me crazy. “But this is for Hanna… Her hair is gone and she feels terrible. I want to do something that will make her feel better, and that would be to cut my hair off. She’s my best friend, and I can’t stand having something that was taken away from her.” My voice cracked and I was weeping again.
“Oh, Allie.” My mom paused and hugged me tightly. “You are such a great friend.” And with that, we drove to the hair salon.
I was blank with fear for the entire time. The only noise I heard was snip snip snip as the hair stylist chopped away my beloved hair. “She wants all of her hair cut off,” I remembered my mom telling the stylist when we walked in.
“All of this gorgeous red hair?” he exclaimed in shock.
“Yes. My daughter wants to donate her hair to make wigs for people who lost their hair, like her friend who is a cancer patient,” my mom responded for me. I was so scared that I felt like I couldn’t do anything.
“Ah, I understand. Well, let’s get on with it then,” he said.
Oh, what did I get myself into?
“Allie, he’s done. Open your eyes.” I reluctantly obeyed and stared into the mirror in front of me.
“I…” I was lost for words. The girl who was staring back at me was virtually unrecognizable as me, Allie, the girl who did this to help her friend. My red hair was now very short, just a little past my chin. The stylist put a sparkly barrette in the side, and I finally decided that I didn’t look that bad. In fact, I decided that I looked... pretty. “I like it. Thank you.”
“Your welcome, young lady,” he happily replied. “I hope your friend gets better! Goodbye!”
“I’m proud of you, Allie. You look beautiful, inside and out,” complimented my mom.
As promised, the next day I visited Hanna. When she saw me, her eyes widened. “Allie! Your hair! It’s-“
“Basically gone, like yours,” I finished for her. “Hanna, I did this for us so we didn’t have to be sad all the time because of our differences.”
“Oh Allie… thank you so much. I can’t believe you did this for me – I thought you were terrified of getting haircuts!”
I laughed and said, “I am. But you’re my best friend, and I’d do anything to help you. Even if it meant getting a haircut.”
“You’re the best friend anyone could ever have!” she cried through her tears. We hugged, and then she suddenly exclaimed, “Oh! And I have something for you too!” She fished out a small red box from underneath her pillow and handed it to me. I opened it and found a friendship necklace that had three charms – one was a smiling girl with curly blonde hair. The other charm depicted another smiling girl, this time with wavy red hair. The two girls were holding the last charm, which was a heart that said “Best Friends Forever”. I smiled as happy tears rolled down my cheek. Hanna held up her identical friendship necklace and said, “Isn’t this perfect? I saw it in the hospital’s store and I knew it was meant for us – the best friends forever.”